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Sandy's Photographic Ramblings : A random selection of my most recent work.

Sandy's Photographic Ramblings

smcclearn

A random selection of my most recent work.

Updated: Dec 26, 2014 6:17pm PST

HI Spring Migration April 24th, 25th, 26th, 2013 : I would like to dedicate this gallery to my friend Ken Coleman.  He got me started into bird photography back in June of 2008.  Due to a serious illness my friend was not able to participate in this Spring's activities.  I am so thankful for his getting me started and most of all for his friendship.

Jay Mangum and I went to the Boy Scout Woods blind in High Island, Texas for our second week of shooting migrating birds this Spring.  We were there on the 24th, 25th, and 26th of April.  I am thankful for the beautiful birds we were able to see; however, they were seen and photographed during a lot of challenging weather and few birds, especially warblers.  I must say that I am speaking in regard to the blind area.  When the wind is blowing hard, the noise of the rustling leaves masks the drip sounds.  However, Jay and I had a good time and I learned a lot about flash photography this time.  Also, I was able to solve many other photography problems related to shooting in the blind.  I shot many more photographs, but I chose these as they represented what we saw.

I shot under three different trial flash conditions and also experimented with trying to find ways to practically mitigate problems with depth of field from shooting so close to the subject with a long lens, and the restrictions that are part of the camera manufacturers design.

HI Spring Migration April 24th, 25th,...

AubreyC

I would like to dedicate this gallery to my friend Ken Coleman. He go ...

Updated: Dec 19, 2014 6:15pm PST

Spring Migration 2011 @ High Island - 'Warbler Fallout'  on 050411 : Absolutely the best warblers shooting day in three years of going to High Island. I spent the day in the blind in Boy Scout Woods Bird Sanctuary at High Island with Jay Mangum.  He arranged for the seats and oh what a ride.  It was a day following a north wind, and there were a lot of warblers including a few I had not seen nor had I photographed that were there in large numbers due to a fallout.  Orioles, tangers, and buntings, but not these small colorful and talented singers. 

I saw my first Magnolia Warbler with coloring a lot like the Canada Warbler.  The pictures were shot with my old Tamron Lens and one flash unit, my old one.  It took a lot of experimenting to measure up against the performance of the Sony rental lens and the two flash arrangement, or so I thought. So I decided to start processing seriously, my High Island Boy Scout Woods photographs with this day first in order to better measure against the technique I had used previously.  I had rented a Sony G70400 lens and an extra flash unit.  I mounted on unit out to the side about 12 feet or so in order to illuminate the bird without undo direct reflection and also the angle would cause feather reveal mini or micro shadow and highlights on the feathers.

Trust but verify.

Spring Migration 2011 @ High Island -...

AubreyC

Absolutely the best warblers shooting day in three years of going to H ...

Updated: Dec 19, 2014 3:57pm PST

Spring Migration - High Island 2010: Best Days  04/10 : April 27th of 2010 was the 9th day of ten I spent in the blind in Boy Scout Woods Bird Sanctuary managed by the Houston Audubon Society in High Island.  This turned out to be the best day from many aspects among them were the weather, the light, the variety and numbers of birds, the photography setup.

When I finished my ten days in the blind and three days photographing at the Smith Oaks Rookery, I found that I wasn't in a position to post-process the photographs.  My camera had a rather low signal to noise ratio, too low for photographing at ISOs higher than 200.  Photographing at ISO200 and lower did not totally offset the noise problem, because in many cases I was forced too shot under-exposed which cause low signal to noise ratios.   I found that a large part of the problem also was due to the camera manufacture's conversion software both in the camera and the PC based raw file conversion software.  This prompted a search on my part to find ways around the dilemma, because I knew that there were a lot of good birds photographed and many of the raw files had to be salvageable I delayed process.

Since that time I have developed the techniques to allow shooting with the camera at higher ISOs, but in addition I found and purchased a pre-process/post-processing software program by a major player in the field that was able to convert raw files from my camera and mitigate most of the noise problems.  I purchased that software a couple of months ago, but only after going through a big learning curve and practicing on hundreds of photos did I feel I was in a position to now process the ten days worth of photos taken in the blind at High Island during this past Spring Migration.

These photos taken during the 27th of April 2010 is the first group.  I hope you enjoy them.

The experience of sitting all day long as quietly as possible allowed the observations of bird behaviors of many species.  My hope is that with all I have learned about photography since then, pre-processing/post-processing, and bird behavior that I will be able to spend another 10 days again this next Spring.

Spring Migration - High Island 2010: ...

AubreyC

April 27th of 2010 was the 9th day of ten I spent in the blind in Boy ...

Updated: Dec 19, 2014 5:03am PST

HI Spring Migration of April.17,18,19 of  2013 : On April 17, 18, and 19, 2013, Jay Mangum and I spent our first visit this year in the blind at High Island, Boy Scout Woods.  Scott Meyer joined us on the 18th and 19th.  Wednesday started with a rainstorm and cold, rain, and clouds plagued us most of the time, ditto a lack of birds.  I have over the last five years noticed when there are both high winds and a lack of sun there are no birds.  We did in fact have some birds, but they were very few in number and variety compared to other seasons.

I have posted in this gallery a variety of the birds we did see and shoot.  For me it turned into a photography study.  I was experimenting with a variety of flash techniques and ways in which I could maximize the depth of field.  I had decided after careful consideration that it was the birds movement, not within the focal plane, but normal to that plane, and it was that movement that took the bird or parts of the bird out of the depth of field and hence out of focus.  I shot high speed flash mode shooting some shots with a shutter speed as high as 1/1600 sec. In this mode however, the lens is opened all the way, minimizing the depth of field.  I did compensate by pulling back on the focal length shooting between 450mm and 500mm instead of extending all the way out to 600mm.  I have plans to try other flash techniques next week, in order to shoot with a higher F-stop in order to increase depth of field.  The down side of this will be shooting with a higher intensity flash.

HI Spring Migration of April.17,18,19...

AubreyC

On April 17, 18, and 19, 2013, Jay Mangum and I spent our first visit ...

Updated: Dec 18, 2014 3:34am PST

Flowers : It might be a flower, it might be a "weed" but if it's a blossom it goes here

Flowers

PeacefulPlaces

It might be a flower, it might be a "weed" but if it's a blossom it go ...

Updated: Oct 30, 2014 10:13pm PST

Cataloochee National Park - Nov. 8, 2011 : On 2nd day in Gatlinburg, November 8, 2011, we decided to go to the Cataloochee National Park to get photographs of elk.   The park is in the mountains above Maggie Valley, NC.  Re-establishing elk in this part of the country is a project of the National Forest Service.  This day, not only did I get quite a few opportunities to shoot elk in Cataloochee Park, but photographed some in Cherokee, NC on the way.  We probably missed the rut by 3 or 4 weeks, and was probably just as well.  I really didn't want to take a ride on one of those racks.  Of the hundreds of photographs I took, I am displaying only 25 and they are from the 'G' rated ones.  This the time of the year that activity is not simply restricted to grazing.

Cataloochee National Park - Nov. 8, 2011

AubreyC

On 2nd day in Gatlinburg, November 8, 2011, we decided to go to the Ca ...

Updated: Oct 11, 2014 4:42pm PST

Ducks at Lamar Penisula on 122212 : Went to the shoot ducks on the little lake on 4th Street on the Lamar Peninsula.  See 'Map This' button for view of lake.  I went with oldest son and my 12 year old grandson.  Duck hunters blasting away out in the bay, members of local hunting club.  Seems that a lot of ducks stay on the little lake while the hunters are shooting.  Saw mainly Pintails with some Redheads.  Also, there were a pair of Greater Scaups and a pair of Buffleheads.  There are at least a dozen Whooping Cranes that are making this there seasonal home again.  During the next couple of months.  There should be more varieties of ducks.  Around noon when the shooting stops the dabblers fly out of the lake and feed along the shoreline of the bay.  Flying in and out of the little lake makes for some great in flight shots.

Ducks at Lamar Penisula on 122212

AubreyC

Went to the shoot ducks on the little lake on 4th Street on the Lamar ...

Updated: Sep 10, 2014 4:51am PST

Ducks and Whoopers at Lamar Peninsula on 010613 : Jay and I made a 400 mile round trip to Lamar Peninsula to try to get some ducks in flight.  When we arrived there were less than a dozen and one-half ducks there.  The bonanza though was a male Bufflehead in breeding plumage with his mate and two Green-wing teal males.  Normally there would be three to four dozen Pintails and Redheads on the lake and they would fly out over time in predictable paths allowing for fairly close shots in good light.  The few Pintails and Redheads that were there gave as many opportunities for in flight shots in good light.  As for the Green-wing Teal, they are afternoon opportunities.  In the afternoon from about 2:30 PM to 5:00 PM the light is across the lake and if you stand at the edge of the reeds for cover and wait the Green-wing teal usually swim over to that side.  Even so, you are afforded a shot at least half the distance across the lake as from the end of the lake by Beachfront Road.  As for the divers, given patience and little motion, they eventually swim up toward the beach end of the lake where the deep water affords good diving and feeding.  The opposite end has the depths for dabblers.  Click on the 'Map This' button for a map of the lake's layout.

Usually on a day at that lake I would have at least 3000 shots, this day it was on 500.  I have tried to post a sampling of what the day was like.

Ducks and Whoopers at Lamar Peninsula...

AubreyC

Jay and I made a 400 mile round trip to Lamar Peninsula to try to get ...

Updated: Sep 07, 2014 12:25pm PST

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New Images - Public

Newsy

Newest on page 1 and oldest on last page. © All images and their ...

Updated: Aug 24, 2014 3:15pm PST

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